By MIKE McLAIN
BEREA - If you need proof that Tom Heckert's days as general manager of the Browns are nearing an end, it came Monday afternoon with the release of cornerback Dimitri Patterson.
Patterson was a "Heckert guy." The two were together in 2009 with the Philadelphia Eagles when Heckert served as general manager. Heckert signed Patterson during free agency prior to the 2011 season to play the slot.
Patterson was re-signed to a three-year contract extension worth $16 million ($6 million guaranteed) last March. There's no way Heckert would have waived Patterson.
This is a move that comes straight from the office of president Joe Banner. It's evidence that Banner is now making the football decisions and that Heckert will likely be fired after the season ends.
Patterson appeared in 14 games last season with one start. He had 26 tackles but no interceptions.
A severe ankle sprain sidelined Patterson seven games this season. He has 28 tackles.
Patterson was originally signed to the Washington Redskins' practice squad in 2005 after failing to be drafted out of Tuskegee University. He appeared in three games with the Redskins that season.
Patterson was with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007-08, appearing in 20 combined games.
Patterson's best season as a pro came in 2010 with the Eagles. He appeared in 16 games with nine starts, registering 55 tackles (44 solos). He had one sack, intercepted four passes and defensed 11 passes.
With all personnel in the secondary healthy, it was easy to waive Patterson and save money against the salary cap. His place on the field will be taken by Buster Skrine. It also means that rookie Trevin Wade will be active in the final two games.